When you can't meet your pals on the ski slopes…


Reporter: Helen Richardson

… where better to meet than in a beautiful garden? Thus it was, when Brian and I met Brenda Smith and Dave Turner, on Sunday, 11th April, in Jane Fairclough's stunning garden, with its sweeping views south across the Cheshire plain, encompassing also the peak district eastwards, with snow covering the tops that day, and nearby Budworth Mere slightly westwards.

Jane had once again opened her garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme (ngs) for charity, as she has been doing for many years. This year, Jane’s garden will be open for ngs again on Sunday, 4th July; and additionally by arrangement, for groups of 10 – 30, — from which donations will go to Jane’s ‘pet’ charity, ‘GOSH’ — Great Ormond Street Hospital.

We were treated to an array of colour and texture in a wide variety of flowering bulbs, spring plants and shrubs; all carefully and exquisitely combined with clever landscaping. Well-stocked upper and lower garden wildlife ponds connected by a stream add an extra and unusual dimension. I was especially taken by the beautiful, and previously unknown to me, water hawthorn (Apogonetum), with its profuse white flowers, — in bloom so much earlier than water lilies and other pond plants that I am more familiar with.

The sun shining whilst we were there was a real bonus, and, because the garden faces south, it felt much milder than I was expecting from the forecast and generally cold weather that day.

Some unusual plants from a local Nursery were on sale, each purchase of which generates an additional charitable contribution.

Photos give an impression, but hardly do justice to the delight of what there is to see. Don't take my word for it, why not visit, and see for yourself?

For more information about visiting Jane's garden this summer, please see either the ngs website or the ngs booklet for Cheshire and Wirral, entry 56, Parm Place.